Because IBS is a problem with the colon, and the colon removes water from unprocessed food waste, it's common for people with IBS to be constipated or have diarrhea :. A prior infectious illness such as gastroenteritis may increase a person's risk for IBS. Exposure to a bacterial or viral infection can cause inflammation that can change how the gastrointestinal system works.
Stress can also play a part in IBS. Stress can accelerate your colon and slow your stomach. Foods can also be a trigger, but this is hard to predict.
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Eating big meals and spicy foods often cause problems, as do drinks with caffeine coffee or soda , alcohol, milk and milk products, and grains like wheat, barley, or rye. Some of these foods are linked to other digestive conditions like lactose intolerance or celiac disease , though, so it's important to see a doctor if you think a food is causing digestive problems.
Some medicines, like antibiotics , can trigger IBS symptoms in people who have the disorder. There is no specific test to diagnose IBS. Doctors usually diagnose it based on a physical exam and a patient's symptoms. For example, if someone has had belly pain for more than 12 weeks out of the previous year not necessarily 12 weeks in a row , it's a sign to a doctor that IBS may be a possibility. A doctor will probably ask how often you have stomach or gas pain, whether you're ever constipated or have diarrhea, and if so, how long these problems last.
He or she may ask questions about your bathroom habits, such as whether your bowel movements are regular, what your stools look like, and whether you ever feel like you need to have a bowel movement but then can't. It may feel embarrassing or even silly to answer these questions, but learning as much as possible about your symptoms will help the doctor diagnose what's going on. Besides doing an exam, the doctor will ask you about any concerns and symptoms you have, your past health, your family's health, any medicines you're taking, any allergies you may have, and other issues.
This is called the medical history.
Stress can make the existing pain seem even worse. Based on these observations, you might expect that at least some patients with functional GI conditions might improve with therapy to reduce stress or treat anxiety or depression. And sure enough, a review of 13 studies showed that patients who tried psychologically based approaches had greater improvement in their digestive symptoms compared with patients who received only conventional medical treatment.
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Are your stomach or intestinal problems — such as heartburn, abdominal cramps, or loose stools — related to stress? Watch for these other common symptoms of stress and discuss them with your doctor. Together you can come up with strategies to help you deal with the stressors in your life, and also ease your digestive discomforts. I'm 70 and exercise 30 minutes a day. I've heard that creatine supplements might help build muscle strength. Is there anything to it?
Creatine is a natural substance, largely found in muscle, that's sold as a supplement. There's some evidence that it can help young athletes build muscle mass and improve athletic performance that requires short bursts of muscle activity, such as sprinting. For that reason, it is banned by some, but not by all, sports organizations. However, there is little evidence that it can build muscle bulk or strength in older adults. Small studies have suggested that it might be helpful for people with certain diseases more common in older folks, including heart failure and Parkinson's disease.
In my judgment, there is currently no convincing evidence of adverse effects from doses that the manufacturers recommend, which are typically 2 to 3 grams per day. However, there are very few studies of sufficient size and duration to be confident about this.
Large Bowel (Intestinal) Obstruction
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This can be fatal.
The gut-brain connection
In this article, we examine the symptoms and causes of a bowel obstruction. We also take a look at how doctors can treat this condition and what people can do to prevent it from occurring. Vomiting and diarrhea are early signs of bowel obstruction. Recognizing these symptoms means that a person can seek treatment before the condition progresses. If a fever develops after some of these symptoms, speak to a doctor. It can be a sign of a split in the bowel. There are many possible causes of bowel obstruction.
The different causes are either mechanical or non-mechanical. Mechanical obstructions are physical barriers that prevent or restrict the flow of matter through the bowels. These include:. Some refer to non-mechanical obstructions as ileus , or paralytic ileus. These occur when something disrupts the working of the entire digestive system. The large and small bowels move in coordinated contractions.
If something interrupts this process, a non-mechanical obstruction can occur. If a doctor is able to detect and treat the cause, the bowel obstruction is usually a short-term issue. Some conditions and events increase the risk of a bowel obstruction occurring. If a person's intestines have not developed properly, they will be more prone to blockages. Bowel obstruction can have serious consequences.
A person should seek medical advice if any of the symptoms listed above occur.
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It is especially important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms occur after surgery. Diagnosis tends to begin with a physical examination. An obstruction can cause a hard lump in the abdomen, which a doctor may be able to feel.
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